Wednesday :: Sep 30, 2009

Article In Leading Military Journal Calls For Repeal Of DADT

by Turkana

In what appears to be a very encouraging sign, an official military journal has published a long article calling for an end to Don't Ask Don't Tell. Before publication, the article was reviewed by the office of the Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. At the very least, the Chairman is willing to allow this to be openly debated.

The New York Times:

In an unusual show of support for allowing gay men and lesbians to serve openly in the armed forces, an article in an official military journal argues forcefully for repealing the “don’t ask, don’t tell” law, which requires homosexuals in the services to keep their sexual orientation secret.

The article, which appears in Joint Force Quarterly and was reviewed before publication by the office of Adm. Mike Mullen, the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff, says that “after a careful examination, there is no scientific evidence to support the claim that unit cohesion will be negatively affected if homosexuals serve openly.”

Although the article, by an Air Force colonel, Om Prakash, carries no weight as a matter of policy, it may well signal a shift in the official winds. It won the 2009 Secretary of Defense National Security Essay competition.

The article, by Om Prakash, makes five key points:

There are five central issues. First, §654 has had a significant cost in both personnel and treasure. Second, the stated premise of the law—to protect unit cohesion and combat effectiveness—is not supported by any scientific studies. Strong emotional appeals are available to both sides. However, societal views have grown far more accommodating in the last 16 years, and there are now foreign military experiences that the United States can draw from. Third, it is necessary to consider the evidence as to whether homosexuality is a choice, as the courts have traditionally protected immutable characteristics. To date, though, the research remains inconclusive. Fourth, the law as it currently stands does not prohibit homosexuals from serving in the military as long as they keep it secret. This has led to an uncomfortable value disconnect as homosexuals serving, estimated to be over 65,000,4 must compromise personal integrity. Given the growing gap between social mores and the law, DADT may do damage to the very unit cohesion that it seeks to protect. Finally, it has placed commanders in a position where they are expected to know everything about their troops except this one aspect.

Go read. The official debate has begun. Once we get past the hysteria, and focus on the facts, there can be only one resolution. This seems to be an indication that such a resolution is drawing near.

Turkana :: 7:19 PM :: Comments (0) :: Digg It!